So my goal of this page is simple: to get people taking about Final Fantasy VII. I know there are other people out there like me that love this game still. I am hoping you all have some sort of story to tell. Here is mine:
It was the fall of 1997 and I had gone over a friend’s house to pick him up for a night of drinking. I was 15 at the time, and we would drink in the woods behind his house. Very classy, I’m aware. He invited me inside because he wasn’t ready yet. He was playing a video game, so I went into the living room to sit and wait. I did not own a PlayStation at the time. To be honest, I am not sure what system I had, probably a SNES . Anyway, he was in disc two of the game, specifically the part of the game where the group wakes up in Junon after Cloud gives the black materia to Sephiroth. I had never seen anything like this, so I asked what game he was playing. “Final Fantasy VII”, he replied. There was seven of this games? I was stunned. I watched as Barret ran up to the top of Junon, and the screen cut away when he was under the Highwind pointing his blocky gun-arm in the air.
I was enamored with this scene. It was unlike anything I had ever seen. It sort of reminded me of the Chrono Trigger trial where you had to break out of jail. I always loved that part of the game, and I gathered that you were kind of trying to “break out” of Junon in this scene. I asked my friend some questions about the game, apparently too many questions because this is where I had Aerith’s death spoiled for me. I found out that the other six games in the series had nothing to do with this one, so I could just pick this one up and play. I absolutely had to have it. No question, I needed to do whatever it took to get this game. One problem, I didn’t even own the system to play it on.
I grew up lucky. My father worked two jobs for 40 years. He took care of my mother, brother, and two sisters better than most fathers could. If I asked him for something, he would always find a way to make sure I got it. So for the Christmas of 1997 there were only two things I wanted, the PlayStation system and a copy of Final Fantasy VII. My dad didn’t want to screw up the purchase, so he just gave me the money and took me to Best Buy to make sure I got the right thing. I made both purchases, and now all I had to do was wait until Christmas morning.
I woke up Christmas morning, and immediately searched for the box that looked like a system and a game. I opened then both up, and frantically ran down into my basement to set up the TV so I could play. This moment was months in the making at this point. I booted it up, and instantly fell in love. The music, the graphics, the characters…it was all perfect. In those days, we went to my Aunt’s after dinner on Christmas day. I wanted to play as much as I could until I had to leave for the night. My dad called me upstairs for dinner, and I knew that would mean I only had a little time left until we had to go to my Aunt’s. By this point, I had been playing the game for hours. I has just gotten out of Midgar and gotten to experience that glorious world map music for the first time. I couldn’t believe that the game wasn’t all taking place in Midgar. I had never seen anything like the world map before. I knew I was in for a treat. We had dinner, and I raced back downstairs to play with whatever precious time I had left. I got through the story section at Kalm, gripping by the way, and blew through the Chocobo Ranch. I had just crossed the marshlands where the Midgar Zolom lives before I heard it. “Fran! It’s time to go!” My heart sank. I wanted nothing more than to play this game, but I reluctantly got in the car and went to my Aunt’s.
I don’t remember being at my Aunt’s. I vaguely remember sitting at the table just thinking about the game, and wondering when the hell we were going to leave. Finally, around 11pm, we left and went home. I ran back downstairs and fired the game back up. I must have played until 3am. I don’t remember exactly where I left off before I went to be, but I think I was at least at Mount Corel. I think I beat the game in 3 days. I just blasted through it as quickly as I could. After I finished I did what you do with any great game, I played it again. And again. And again. You get the point. I was engrossed with the game, and I wanted to play it again so I could see what I missed. I wanted to understand the characters more, and I wanted to experience the story again.
This one small purchase in 1997 started a love affair with a game that would have serious impact on my life. I know that might sound odd to some people, but it’s true. This is easily one of the most influential, if not most influential, pieces of media in my life. To this day when the fall/winter rolls around I get the itch to play the game. I think it’s the change of weather, or maybe those sentimental memories of Christmas that bring me back around to it. I have completed the game probably about 30-40 times. I have started the game, and not finished, probably another 30 times. In the first few years of owning the game, I played it maybe 3-5 times a year. Times have changed, and I don’t have the same amount of free time that I once did. I last played it when the port was released on the PS4, and with the leaves falling in Pennsylvania the itch to play again will only get stronger…..
I want to know what your story is. Doesn’t need to be as in depth as mine. Comment here, go to the forums, or send me an e-mail via the contact screen and I will post it on the site.